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YCQM April 26, 2020

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 26, 2020 at 7:14 PM EDT
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Darren: AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

I'M DARREN PERRON. RIGHT NOW ON CHANNEL 3'S "YOU

CAN QUOTE ME," THREE VERMONT

COLLEGE CAMPUSES SAVED, FOR NOW.

THIS MORNING, I TALK TO

CHANCELLOR JEB SPAULDING ABOUT

WITHDRAWING HIS RECOMMENDATION

TO CLOSE VTC RANDOLPH, NVU

JOHNSON, AND NVU LYNDON.

TESTING AND TREATMENT FOR

CORONAVIRUS, COVERED.

OR IS IT?

IF YOU'VE GOT COVID-19, YOU MAY

GET A SURPRISE MEDICAL BILL TOO.

AND TESTS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE.

STAFF AT A VERMONT HOSPITAL ARE

USING ANTIBODY TESTS TO SEE HOW

WELL THEY WORK.

AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS

MORNING.

A VERMONT HOSPITAL IS PART OF AN

EXPERIMENT THAT COULD HELP

HEALTHCARE WORKERS QUICKLY

FIGURE OUT WHETHER SOMEONE

ALREADY HAD CORONAVIRUS AND

RECOVERED.

CAT VIGLIENZONI EXPLAINS WHAT

THEY'RE WORKING ON IN LAMOILLE

COUNTY.

>> Cat: AT COPLEY HOSPITAL IN

MORRISVILLE, THEY'RE DOING

COVID-19 TESTING.

THE USUAL DRIVE-UP TESTING FOR

PEOPLE WHO ARE REFERRED WITH

STOPS, BUT INSIDE THE HOSPITAL,

THEY'RE ALSO DOING ANOTHER KIND

OF TEST ON THEIR STAFF.

THIS ONE WILL HOPEFULLY LEAD TO

A BETTER DIAGNOSTIC TOOL.

TUESDAY, HOSPITAL STAFF

VOLUNTEERED TO GET THEIR FINGERS

PRICKED TO SEE IF THEY HAD

ANTIBODIES FOR COVID-19.

MIRANDA WAS AMONG THEM.

>> HOPING THAT I DO.

THAT WOULD BE NICE.

>> Cat: SHE HASN'T HAD ANY

SYMPTOMS, BUT ALSO KNOWS SHE

COULD HAVE BEEN INFECTED AND NOT

KNOWN IT.

>> IT WOULD EASE MY MIND IF I

DID.

NOT THAT I'M -- I DON'T EVER

WANT IT, BUT IF I'VE HAD IT

ALREADY, THAT'S GREAT.

>> Cat: RESULTS SHOW UP IN ABOUT

TEN MINUTES.

THE HOSPITAL IS SEEING HOW

ACCURATE THESE TESTS ARE IN

IDENTIFYING TWO KINDS OF

ANTIBODIES.

THE ONES YOU HAVE WHILE YOU'RE

INFECTED AND THE ONE FOUND IN

YOUR BODY AFTER YOU RECOVER.

>> WE'RE ESSENTIALLY TESTING THE

TEST.

>> Cat: THE CHIEF MEDICAL

OFFICER SAYS BECAUSE OF THE

FDA'S EMERGENCY AUTHORIZATION,

THEY'RE ALLOWED TO RUN TESTS

THAT HAVEN'T UNDERGONE THE

NORMAL LEVELS OF SCIENTIFIC

SCRUTINY.

THE COMPANY ALSO WANTS FEEDBACK

ON HOW WELL THE TESTS WORK.

THAT'S WHY THEY'RE USED ON

HOSPITAL STAFF, NOT THE PUBLIC.

>> WE DON'T WANT TO SEEM LIKE

WE'RE GIVING DIAGNOSTIC

INFORMATION TO PATIENTS BEFORE

WE KNOW WE'RE GIVING USEFUL

INFORMATION TO PATIENTS.

>> Cat: I VOLUNTEERED TO GET ONE

OF THE ANTIBODY TESTS AND

THEORETICALLY SINCE I'VE HAD NO

SYMPTOMS, WE SHOULD NOT SEE A

RESULT FROM ME ON THE POSITIVE

SIDE.

HOWEVER, ONE OF THE REASONS TO

DO THESE TESTS IS TO FIGURE OUT

WHETHER PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE BEEN

ASYMPTOMATIC AND BEEN CARRIERS

WITHOUT KNOWING IT.

MINE WAS NECESSARILY, BUT WE

ALSO TEST ADD KNOWN COVID-19

CASE.

MY WORK PARTNER, PHOTOGRAPHER

SHELLY HOLT-ALLEN, WHO HAS

RECOVERED.

>> I'D SAY IT'S BECOMING

POSITIVE AS WE'RE LOOKING AT IT.

>> Cat: HER TEST, AS EXPECTED,

CAME BACK POSITIVE FOR THE TYPE

OF ANTIBODIES YOUR BODY HAS

AFTER YOU GET BETTER, BUT WHAT

ASSISTANCE STILL HASN'T PROVEN

FOR COVID-19 IS HOW MUCH

PROTECTION THOSE ANTIBODIES WILL

GIVE HER DOWN THE LINE.

>> I CERTAINLY HOPE IT'S A

SHIELD AGAINST GETTING THE VIRUS

AGAIN, BUT IT'S -- WE DON'T

REALLY KNOW THAT YET.

AND WE DON'T -- AND EVEN IF

THAT'S TRUE, WE'RE NOT SURE HOW

LONG THAT WILL LAST FOR.

>> Darren: CAT AND SHELLY JOIN

ME NOW.

GOOD MORNING TO BOTH OF YOU.

>> GOOD MORNING.

>> GOOD MORNING.

>> Darren: SHELLY, FIRST OF ALL,

HOW YOU DOING?

>> Shelly: I AM FINE.

I HAVE MADE A FULL RECOVERY,

THANK GOODNESS.

>> Darren: GLAD TO HEAR THAT.

YOU'RE ONE OF FOUR EMPLOYEES

HERE AT WCAX TO TEST POSITIVE

FOR COVID-19.

OBVIOUSLY SYMPTOMS VARY FOR

EVERYONE.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU?

>> Shelly: I THINK JUST VERY

TIRED, LOW-GRADE FEVER THAT

SEEMED TO GO ON FOREVER, BUT

THEN WOULD BREAK AND THEN I

WOULD THINK, OH, I'M GETTING

BETTER, AND THEN IT WOULD COME

BACK.

AND THEN I DEVELOPED THE COUGH.

AND THE COUGH WAS THE THING THAT

CONCERNED ME THE MOST BECAUSE

IT -- I HAD FLU, THE REGULAR FLU

LAST YEAR, EVEN THOUGH I'D HAD

MY SHOT, AND I WAS -- I FELT

SICKER LAST YEAR, BUT THE WAY MY

LUNGS FELT WHEN I STARTED TO

DEVELOP THIS COUGH, IT WAS LIKE

WHEN I STOOD UP, THEY FELT HEAVY

IN MY BODY.

IT WAS KIND OF AN ODD FEELING

AND THAT'S WHAT FINALLY MADE ME

SAY, LOOK, I'M GOING TO GET A

TEST.

>> Darren: AND WAS IT EASY FOR

YOU TO GET A TEST?

>> Shelly: NO, NO.

I KEPT CALLING MY NORMAL DOCTOR

AND I KEPT BEING TOLD, YOU DON'T

HAVE SEVERE ENOUGH SYMPTOMS.

YOU KNOW, YOU'RE NOT SICK

ENOUGH, AND FINALLY I WAS LIKE,

WELL, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I'VE

GOT, IF I HAVE IT OR NOT BECAUSE

I -- IF I DON'T HAVE IT, AS SOON

AS I START FEELING BETTER, I CAN

GO BACK TO WORK.

SO I DID WHAT I WAS TOLD NOT TO

DO AND I WENT TO THE EMERGENCY

ROOM AND I WAS THE ONLY PERSON

THERE WHEN I WENT, AND THEY WERE

GREAT UP THERE.

THEY GOT ME RIGHT IN, DID ALL

MY -- YOU KNOW, ALL THE BLOOD

PRESSURE, PULSE-OX, TEMPERATURE,

ALL THAT.

THEN THEY DID THE SWAB WHICH

WASN'T THE MOST FUN I'VE EVER

HAD, BUT IT WASN'T PAINFUL.

IT JUST WAS UNCOMFORTABLE, AND

THEN THEY DID AN ULTRASOUND OF

MY LUNGS WITH A THING THAT LOOKS

LIKE A CELL PHONE AND THEY SAID,

YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO SEND

YOU HOME AND IF YOU FEEL WORSE,

COME BACK.

TWO DAYS LATER I GOT MY RESULTS

AND IT WAS POSITIVE THAT --

>> Darren: AND THERE IS ANY

TREATMENT RIGHT NOW?

WHAT DID THEY GIVE YOU FOR

MEDICATION?

>> Shelly: THEY GAVE ME NOTHING.

THEY TOLD ME TO TAKE TYLENOL OR

ADVIL FOR THE FEVER AND THEY DID

TELL ME TO TAKE A COUGH

SUPPRESSANT FOR THE COUGH AND

THAT ACTUALLY HELPED.

IT MADE ME FEEL A LITTLE LESS

KIND OF OOEY-GOOEY, BUT YADA WE

SHOULD KNOW THAT WCAX TOOK

MEASURES HERE TO ISOLATE PEOPLE.

NEARLY ALL THE STAFF, AS YOU

GUYS KNOW, WORKING REMOTELY

RIGHT NOW AND THE STATION WAS

DISINFECTED.

CAT, LET'S GET BACK TO THESE

TESTS AT COPLEY.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR THOSE TESTS?

>> Cat: RIGHT.

SO IF SOMEONE COMES UP WITH ONE

OF THOSE POSITIVE TESTS FOR

ANTIBODIES, THERE ARE TWO TYPES

OF ANTIBODIES THAT THEY

MENTIONED IN MY PIECE.

THE ANTIBODIES YOU BUILD WHILE

YOU'RE STILL FIGHTING THE VIRUS

AND THERE'S THE ANTIBODIES YOU

WOULD HAVE AFTER YOU'VE ALREADY

FOUGHT THE VIRUS AND YOU'VE

RECOVERED.

THEY TEST FOR BOTH OF THOSE.

IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR THE

ANTIBODIES THAT SAY YOU MIGHT

STILL BE FIGHTING THAT VIRUS,

THEY CAN CONFIRM IF YOU HAVE THE

VIRUS WITH THAT SWAB THAT SHELLY

MENTIONED, THE NOSE AND THROAT

SWAB, WHICH IS CALLED PCR TEST.

THAT'S FOR ONE TYPE.

FOR THE TYPE OF ANTIBODIES YOU

HAVE AFTER THE FACT, THEY NEED

TO DO A PLASMA TEST TO CONFIRM

THAT YOU IN FACT HAD THE VIRUS.

FOR SHELLY'S, WHICH CAME BACK

POSITIVE, THE NEXT STEP FOR HER

WOULD BE THAT PLASMA TEST TO

CONFIRM THAT SHE DID IN FACT

HAVE THE VIRUS.

GIVEN THAT YOU ALREADY TESTED

POSITIVE, THEY MIGHT NOT NEED TO

DO THAT ON YOURS BECAUSE WE'VE

KNOWN THAT YOU HAD THE VIRUS,

BUT FOR SOMEONE ELSE WHO MIGHT

HAVE BEEN A POSITIVE CARRIER AND

NOT KNOWN THEY HAD THE VIRUS,

THEY WOULD NEED TO DO THAT

DOUBLE-CHECKING TEST TO CONFIRM

WHETHER YOU HAD THE VIRUS.

>> Darren: AND WHAT'S INVOLVED

WITH TAKING PLASMA?

>> Shelly: I'LL TAKE THIS ONE.

IT'S BASICALLY YOU DO ALMOST

LIKE A BLOOD DRAW AND YOU WOULD

SIPHON OUT THE PLASMA PART OF

THE BLOOD AND SEND THAT TO

SOMEONE LIKE THE CDC FOR

TESTING.

I OFFERED TO GIVE MY PLASMA TO

COPLEY.

I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING BACK

FROM THEM, BUT IF THEY CALL, I

WILL CERTAINLY GIVE UP MY VEIN.

>> Darren: SO THE HEALTH

COMMISSIONER, DR. MARK LEVINE,

SAYS ANTIBODY TESTS AREN'T

ACCURATE ENOUGH TO USE TO

DIAGNOSE WHETHER SOMEONE MAY BE

IMMUNE TO COVID-19.

EXPLAIN HIS CONCLUSION, CAT.

>> Cat: RIGHT.

SO THERE'S A COUPLE PARTS OF

THAT.

FIRST, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO

NOTE, EVERY HEALTH PROFESSIONAL

I'VE SPOKEN WITH, INCLUDING THE

HEALTH COMMISSIONER AND

INCLUDING THE STAFF AT COPLEY,

THEY DON'T QUITE KNOW YET HOW

THIS ANTIBODY IMMUNITY IN YOUR

BLOODSTREAM, ONCE YOU'VE HAD IT,

ACTUALLY PROTECTS YOU FROM THE

CORONAVIRUS DOWN THE LINE.

SO IT COULD BE MAYBE YOU GET A

MILDER VERSION OF IT OR IT COULD

BE YOU NOT GET IT AT ALL.

THEY DON'T KNOW THAT YET.

THAT'S STILL THIS UNDETERMINED

AREA THAT, BECAUSE THE VIRUS IS

SO NEW, THEY HAVEN'T FIGURED

THAT OUT YET.

AND THE SECOND THING THAT THE

HEALTH COMMISSIONER IS CONCERNED

ABOUT IS THAT SOME OF THESE

TESTS, GIVEN ALL BUT ONE OF

THEM, HAVE HIT THE MARKET

WITHOUT FDA APPROVAL, THEY MIGHT

NOT ACTUALLY BE GIVING ACCURATE

RESULTS OUT TO PEOPLE AND THAT'S

PART OF WHAT COPLEY'S MISSION

WAS AS WE MENTIONED IN THE

PIECE, TO TEST WHETHER THESE ARE

ACCURATE AND HOW ACCURATE THEY

MIGHT BE.

BECAUSE IF YOU'RE GIVING SOMEONE

INFORMATION AND IT'S NOT GOOD

INFORMATION, YOU KNOW, THAT IT'S

A FALSE POSITIVE OR FALSE

NEGATIVE, YOU'VE JUST GIVEN THEM

A PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT THEY

MIGHT USE TO MAKE DECISIONS

ABOUT HOW THEY BEHAVE IN THEIR

LIFE THAT, YOU KNOW, COULD BE

INACCURATE.

SO THE HEALTH COMMISSIONER'S

WORKING GROUP BASICALLY SAID

THEY DON'T FEEL LIKE THE TESTS

ARE AT A POINT WHERE YOU CAN USE

THEM TO RELY -- RELIABLY

DIAGNOSE WHETHER PEOPLE HAVE HAD

COVID-19, BUT YOU CAN USE THEM

TO FIGURE OUT WHAT GENERAL

PERCENT OF THE POPULATION MIGHT

HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO THE VIRUS

AND MIGHT HAVE IMMUNITY AND GET

A MORE BROAD PICTURE.

I THINK THAT'S THE DIRECTION HE

INDICATED THEY WOULD BE GOING IN

WITH SEROLOGY TESTING.

IT'S STILL A QUESTION OF WHEN

AND HOW THEY ROLL THAT OUT AND

I'VE HAD SO MANY PEOPLE WITH

QUESTIONS AFTER SEEING THE STORY

ON TESTING, I WANT ONE OF THOSE.

BELIEVE ME, I UNDERSTAND THAT

CURIOSITY WHERE YOU HEAR ABOUT A

VIRUS WHERE PEOPLE COULD BE

CARRIERS AND NOT KNOWN IT,

YOU'RE LIKE, WAS I ONE?

I WANT TO KNOW THAT.

THE WORKING GROUP IS MEETING

WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH TO TRY TO

ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS.

>> Darren: STAY RIGHT THERE.

I WANT TO TALK TO YOU BOTH ABOUT

POTENTIAL BILLING FOR COVID-19.

PEOPLE BEING CHARGED WHEN

THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE.

THAT'S RIGHT AFTER THIS QUICK

BREAK.

>> Darren: IF YOU'VE BEEN TESTED

OR TREATED FOR COVID-19, CHECK

YOUR BILLS.

WE FOUND CHARGES THAT SHOULD

HAVE BEEN COVERED GOING OUT TO

PATIENTS.

IT SET OFF RED FLAGS FOR US

BECAUSE WE'VE BEEN TOLD PATIENTS

WOULDN'T GET BUILD FOR COVID

TESTING OR TREATMENT.

SO WE SET OUT TO GET ANSWERS IN

CASE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU.

HERE AGAIN IS CAT VIGLIENZONI.

>> Cat: $162.90.

THAT'S WHAT CIGNA TOLD WCAX

PHOTOGRAPHER SHELLY HOLT-ALLEN

SHE OWED FOR HER UVM MEDICAL

CENTER E.R. VISIT ON MARCH 25th

WHERE SHE TESTED POSITIVE FOR

COVID-19.

BUT ACCORDING TO THE STATE'S

DIRECTIVE TO INSURORS BACK IN

MARCH AND ALSO EARLIER THIS

MONTH, SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE OWED

ANYTHING AT ALL.

>> I BELIEVE THIS SHOULD BE

WAIVED.

>> Cat: WHEN SHE CALL CIGNA TO

ASK WHY, SHE WAS TOLD IT WAS

LIKELY A MISTAKE.

>> I DO APOLOGIZE.

WITH ALL THE CLAIMS COMING

THROUGH AND THE DIFFERENT

BILLINGS, POLICIES ARE PUTTING

OUT SOME CLAIMS.

>> Shelly: SO AS A COVID

PATIENT, I SHOULD HAVE ZERO

DOLLARS THAT I SHOULD HAVE TO

PAY.

>> CORRECT.

>> Cat: V DEPARTMENT OF

FINANCIAL REGULATION CONFIRMED

TO US TUESDAY AFTERNOON THAT

TESTING AND TREATMENT FOR THE

CORONAVIRUS SHOULD HAVE COVERED

BY FULLY FUNDED HEALTH INSURANCE

PLANS, LIKE THE ONES YOU GET ON

THE EXCHANGE OR FROM LARGE GROUP

EMPLOYERS.

THAT'S BECAUSE THE STATE WANTS

TO MAKE SURE THERE AREN'T ANY

FINANCIAL BARRIERS TO VERMONTERS

SEEKING TREATMENT FOR THE VIRUS.

SO IF YOU'RE CHARGED WITH

COVID-RELATED CARE, DON'T PULL

OUT YOUR POCKETBOOK.

>> IF YOU GET A BILL FOR TESTING

OR IF YOU GET A BILL FOR

TREATMENT, YOU SHOULD REACH OUT

TO OUR DEPARTMENT.

>> Cat: SO IF SOMEONE GETS A

BILL TO COVID TESTING, THEY

SHOULDN'T JUST WRITE A CHECK AND

SEND IT.

>> ABSOLUTELY NOT.

COME TO OUR DEPARTMENT AND CHECK

IN FIRST.

>> Cat: HE SAYS REPRESENTATIVES

CAN WALK YOU THROUGH WHETHER THE

CHARGE SHOULD BE THERE AND TALK

TO YOUR INSUROR IF THERE'S AN

ISSUE.

HE SAYS BILLS LIKE THE CONSHELLY

GOT ARE LIKELY A

MISUNDERSTANDING SINCE INSURORS

ARE ALSO NAVIGATING NEW

TERRITORY WITH COVID-19, TOO.

>> THEY'RE TRYING TO IMPLEMENT

THINGS, POLICY INITIATIVES THAT

WE'RE TELLING THEM TO IMPLEMENT

ON THE FLY, VERY QUICKLY, SO

THEY DON'T ALWAYS CATCH EVERY

SINGLE, YOU KNOW, ITEM.

>> Darren: ALL RIGHT, CAT, WHAT

DO YOU DO IF YOU FIND THESE

CHARGES?

>> Cat: RIGHT.

SO IF YOU GET A BILL LIKE THAT,

THE BIG THING IS DON'T AUTOMATIC

JUST PAY IT.

A LOT OF US LIKE TO BE PROACTIVE

ABOUT OUR BILLS AND THEY COME

IN, YOU WRITE A CHECK AND SEND

IT OUT.

DON'T DO THAT BECAUSE THE BIG

MESSAGE HERE, AND YOU HEARD IT

FROM THE COMMISSIONER, THAT YOU

PROBABLY WON'T HAVE TO PAY THAT

BILL IF YOU GET ONE.

SO THEY WANT YOU TO REACH OUT TO

THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL

REGULATION AND TALK TO THEN

ABOUT WHAT YOU SAW ON YOUR BILL

OR YOU CAN DO LIKE WE DID,

CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY

DIRECTLY AND SEE IF YOU CAN GET

IT RESOLVED WITH THEM AND THAT

WAY, YOU KNOW, THEY MIGHT JUST

TELL YOU WHAT THEY TOLD US,

WHICH WAS, YOU KNOW, IT WAS

PROBABLY A MISTAKE.

BUT EITHER WAY, THERE ARE SOME

AVENUES FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN

GET QUESTIONS ANSWERED WITHOUT

PAYING THAT BILL FIRST.

SO IT'S KIND OF A BIG TAKEAWAY

FOR PEOPLE WITH COVID.

AT LEAST COVID TESTING.

NOT EVERY MEDICAL BILL, YOU'RE

GOING TO GET.

THIS IS COVID AND

CORONAVIRUS-RELATED TREATMENT

AND TESTING.

>> Darren: AND WE'LL MAKE SURE

THE PHONE NUMBERS ARE UP ON OUR

WEBSITE AS WELL.

SHELLY, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION

WHEN YOU SAW THE BILL?

>> Shelly: WELL, WHEN I OPENED

IT UP, I WAS LIKE, I COULD HAVE

SWORN THE GOVERNOR SAID WE

WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY THESE, SO I

TOLD CAT ABOUT IT, AND WE DID A

STORY AND I CALLED THE

INSURANCE -- MY INSURANCE

COMPANY AND THEY WERE GREAT.

THEY HANDLED IT VERY WELL.

THEY SAID, OH, YEAH, WE DON'T

THINK THIS IS RIGHT.

THE GOOD NEWS IS LAST NIGHT I

GOT A CALL AND THEY TOLD ME

THAT, YES, THEY HAD LOOKED INTO

IT AND IT DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT

HAVE BEEN BUILD TO -- HAVE BEEN

BILLED TO ME AND IT WAS GOING TO

BE TAKEN CARE OF.

>> Darren: SO EASY FIX FOR YOU

THEN.

>> Shelly: IT WAS.

I THINK IT HELPS THAT I WAS WITH

ONE OF THE MAJOR INSURANCE

CARRIERS IN THE STATE.

>> Cat: THERE'S SOME CAVEATS TO

THIS.

FOR INSTANCE, THIS APPLIES TO

ALL THE INSURORS THAT THE STATE

HAS THE AUTHORITY TO, YOU KNOW,

SAY THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE COVERING

WITH REGARD TO COVID.

THE COMMISSIONER, WHEN I SPOKE

WITH HIM, INDICATED THERE MIGHT

BE SOME SMALLER INSURORS THAT

THEY DON'T OVERSEE DUE TO

REGULATIONS, BUT EVEN THEN, HE

INDICATED BASICALLY THAT WHEN

THE DEPARTMENT REACHES OUT TO

THOSE, USUALLY THEY'RE PRETTY

GOOD ABOUT GETTING A RESOLUTION,

BUT JUST SO PEOPLE KNOW THAT NOT

EVERY SINGLE INSUROR MIGHT

HANDLE IT THE SAME WAY.

BUT IF YOU GET YOUR INSURANCE ON

THE EXCHANGE OR YOU HAVE ONE OF

THE MAJOR INSURORS, YOU SHOULD

BE NOT HAVING TO PAY FOR TESTING

AND TREATMENT.

THAT'S LIKE THE BOTTOM LINE.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WILL

NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR TESTING AND

TREATMENT IN VERMONT BECAUSE,

AGAIN, THEY DON'T WANT THAT

FINANCIAL BARRIER FOR PEOPLE TO

DO WHAT SHELLY DID AND GO SEEK

TREATMENT WHEN THEY'RE NOT

FEELING WELL AND FIND OUT IF

THEY HAVE COVID.

THEY WANT PEOPLE TO SAY, I WOULD

LIKE TO KNOW AND GEE, I'VE GOT

THIS COUGH AND MY LUNGS FEEL

REALLY TIGHT AND I FEEL LIKE I'M

SICK, BUT I DON'T WANT THAT E.R.

BILL OR I DON'T WANT THAT

DOCTOR'S OFFICE VISIT, I CAN'T

AFFORD THAT, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE

I LOST MY JOB TO COVID.

THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT

VERMONTERS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO

THAT.

>> Darren: CAT, ANY INDICATION

HOW MANY VERMONTERS MIGHT HAVE

BEEN MISTAKENLY BILLED FOR

TESTING OR TREATMENT FOR COVID?

>> Cat: NO.

SOMETIMES WHEN I DO A STORY, I

TEND TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO

SAY, YES, THAT HAPPENED TO ME

TOO.

ACTUALLY I DIDN'T HEAR FROM

ANYONE.

HOPEFULLY THAT MEANS ARE

INSURORS ARE CATCHING THOSE

MISTAKES BEFORE THEY GO OUT AND

NOT CHARGING PEOPLE, BUT WE FELT

IT WAS IMPORTANT TO DO THE STORY

ANYWAY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE GOT

THAT BILL AND DIDN'T REALIZE,

HADN'T HEARD THE GOVERNOR'S

ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THEY WOULDN'T

HAVE TO PAY THAT OR HADN'T

REALIZED THAT THE STATE HAD

STEPPED IN ON THEIR BEHALF AND

SAID TO INSURORS, THAT YOU HAVE

TO COVER THIS, THAT THEY MIGHT

WRITE THAT CHECK AND SEND IT OUT

AND POTENTIALLY NOT GET THAT

MONEY BACK AND UPDATE PAYING

$163 THAT THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO

PAY.

>> Darren: CAT, SHELLY, NICE TO

SEE YOU BOTH.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> Cat: HAVE A GOOD ONE.

>> Darren: NEXT, THREE COLLEGE

CAMPUSES SAVED FROM THE

IMMEDIATE CHOPPING BLOCK.

WHY THE PROPOSAL IS OFF THE

TABLE, AND WHAT NOW FOR THE

STRUGGLING SCHOOLS.

I'LL ASK THE CHANCELLOR AFTER

THE BREAK.

>> Darren: WELL, WHAT A

DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES.

CHANCELLOR JEB SPAULDING

WITHDREW HIS RECOMMENDATION TO

THE VERMONT STATE COLLEGES BOARD

OF TRUSTEES TO CLOSE NORTHERN

VERMONT UNIVERSITY JOHNSON, AND

NVU LYNDON, AS WELL AS THE VTC

CAMPUS IN RANDOLPH.

JUST DAYS AFTER HE PITCHED IT.

HIS DECISION TO CLOSE THE

SCHOOLS DREW BACKLASH FROM

COMMUNITIES, PROTESTS, AND EVEN

LED TO NO CONFIDENCE VOTES FROM

FACULTIES.

LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR ALSO

WANTED THE VOTE DELAYED.

IT WAS.

THEN SPAULDING PULL HIS

RECOMMENDATION ALTOGETHER.

I ASKED HIM WHY AND WHAT NOW.

CHANCELLOR JEB SPAULDING JOINS

ME NOW.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> Spaulding: I'M GLAD TO BE

HERE AND I APPRECIATE THE

OPPORTUNITY.

>> Darren: THANK YOU.

WHAT WENT INTO YOUR DECISION TO

WITHDRAW YOUR PROPOSAL TO CLOSE

THESE THREE CAMPUSES?

>> Spaulding: WELL, IT WAS THE

REACTION OF THE THOUSANDS OF

EMAILS AND PEOPLE WEIGHING IN

WITH OUR BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND

WITH THE CHANCELLOR AND WITH

REACTION OF THE ELECTED LEADERS

IN THE STATE THAT REALLY FELT

THAT THE PROPOSAL WAS MOTIVATED

BY REAL FACTORS, BUT WAS GOING

TO BE TOO DEVASTATING IN TOO

MANY WAYS AND THAT WE SHOULD

WITHDRAW IT.

AND BOTTOM LINE WAS MY BOARD OF

TRUSTEES WOULD NOT ACCEPT THAT

PROPOSAL AND I UNDERSTAND WHY,

AND I ACCEPT THAT.

AND, YOU KNOW, ANOTHER FACTOR

THAT WENT INTO IT WAS THERE'S AT

LEAST POSITIVE INDICATORS THAT

THE LEGISLATURE UNDERSTANDS THAT

WE NEED SOME ASSISTANCE IN THE

SHORT TERM HERE TO ALLOW US TO

RECONFIGURE.

THERE WAS SOME SUGGESTIONS MADE

THAT THE LEGISLATURE AND OTHERS

SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE

PROCESS OF DETERMINING WHAT THE

PROPER REDESIGN OF THE COLLEGES

SHOULD BE AND WE'LL BE DOING

THAT IN THE COMING MONTHS.

TRYING TO HAVE IT BE INCLUSIVE,

AND RECOGNIZING THAT THE FACTORS

THAT WERE PRESSING ON ALL

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES BEFORE

COVID-19 AND WERE GREATLY

MAGNIFIED BECAUSE OF COVID-19

AND WILL LIKELY BE CONTINUING TO

BE MAGNIFIED FOR MONTHS AND

YEARS TO COME, ARE STILL THERE

AND WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO,

YOU KNOW, REDESIGN, POTENTIALLY

RECONFIGURE, BUT DO IT IN A MORE

DELIBERATE FASHION AND THAT'S

GOING TO TAKE A LITTLE TIME.

>> Darren: SO JUST TO CLARIFY,

OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE ALLUDING TO

THIS, YOU AND THE TRUSTEES TOOK

A LOT OF HEAT, BACKLASH AT THIS

PROPOSAL.

WAS THE BOARD PLANNING TO VOTE

TO CLOSE AND ONLY DELAYED A VOTE

BECAUSE OF OPPOSITION FROM THE

PUBLIC?

OR DID THE TRUSTEES OPPOSE YOUR

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE GET-GO?

>> Spaulding: WELL, THEY DIDN'T

OPPOSE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM

THE GET-GO, BUT THEY CERTAINLY

THOUGHT THEY DIDN'T HAVE A LOT

OF TIME TO REACT TO THEM AND I

KNEW -- OR WE KNEW, WE HAD

INFORMED THE MEMBERS THAT WE

WERE IN A SITUATION WHERE WE

NEEDED TO TAKE ACTION AND SOME

MEMBERS WERE AWARE OF THE KINDS

OF ACTIONS WE WERE CONSIDERING,

BUT THE BOARD AS A WHOLE HAD

NOT, YOU KNOW, FULLY

INTERNALIZED WHAT WAS BEING

PROPOSED AND HAD NOT HEARD, YOU

KNOW, UNDERSTOOD -- HAD NOT

KNOWN IN ADVANCE WHAT THE

TURMOIL AND REAL DEVASTATION

WOULD BE ON SOME OF OUR REGIONS

OF THE STATE.

>> Darren: BUT THE MONEY PROBLEM

IS STILL THERE.

THE ENROLLMENT PROBLEM IS STILL

THERE.

THE COMPETITION PROBLEM IS STILL

THERE.

SO NOW WHAT?

WHAT OTHER PROPOSALS ARE YOU

CONSIDERING?

>> Spaulding: WELL, WE'RE GOING

TO BE SPEAKING WITH THE

LEGISLATIVE LEADERS AND, YOU

KNOW, LOOKING FOR WHAT PROCESS

WOULD MAKE SENSE OVER THE COMING

MONTHS, AND, YOU KNOW, WE WANT

TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE KNOW

THAT WE DO INTEND TO HAVE OUR

CAMPUSES OPEN THIS FALL.

THEY WILL NEED TO TAKE

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS TO TRY TO

LIVE WITHIN AVAILABLE MEANS, BUT

CLOSING THE CAMPUSES IS NOT

SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WERE READY

FOR AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE

THAT WE WORK WITH PEOPLE TO MAKE

SURE THAT WHATEVER THE FUTURE

DESIGN IS, IS WELL UNDERSTOOD

AND IS IN A PLACE WHERE IT CAN

MOVE FORWARD WITH MINIMAL

DISRUPTION.

>> Darren: YOU'VE BEEN TALKING,

THOUGH, ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS FOR

YEARS, TRYING TO GET THE STATE

TO PONY UP MORE CASH FOR

COLLEGES.

WAS YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT TO CLOSE

THE SCHOOLS A STRATEGIC MOVE TO

FORCE THE STATE'S HAND TO

FINALLY ADDRESS THE MONEY

PROBLEMS AT THESE SCHOOLS?

>> Spaulding: IT MOST CERTAINLY

WAS NOT.

THAT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY

REPREHENSIBLE IF SOMEBODY HAD

DONE IT FOR THAT REASON, KNOWING

THAT THE -- THIS WAS NOT LIKE I

DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE AMOUNT OF,

YOU KNOW, ABSOLUTE FEAR,

FRUSTRATION, STRESS, CONFUSION

ONE PLACED ON MANY PEOPLE AND WE

WOULD NEVER USE -- AND I WOULD

NEVER USE REAL PEOPLE AS PAWNS

IN THAT KIND OF A GAME.

THAT WAS -- IT WAS MADE AS A

RECOGNITION THAT WE WANT TO

ENSURE THAT THE VERMONT STATE

COLLEGES SYSTEM AS AN ENTITY CAN

CONTINUE AND IT WAS INTENDED TO

MAKE SURE THAT WE HAD A ROBUST

COMMUNITY COLLEGE, THAT WE HAD A

RESIDENTIAL LIBERAL ARTS

CAREER-BASED CAMPUS, AND THAT WE

COULD PROTECT THE IMPORTANT

PROGRAMS AT VERMONT TECHNICAL

COLLEGES.

SO THAT'S WHY WE MADE THE

PROPOSAL AND, YOU KNOW, IT WAS

CLEAR THAT IT WAS NOT GOING TO

BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE LEADERS OF

THE STATE.

IT WAS NOT GOING TO BE

ACCEPTABLE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.

AND THE TRUSTEES LISTENED TO

THAT.

>> Darren: SO DO STUDENTS WHO

PLAN TO APPLY TO THESE THREE

SCHOOLS DO SO?

AND SHOULD STUDENTS WHO ALREADY

INTENDED TO GO TO THESE SCHOOLS

PLAN TO DO SO?

>> Spaulding: YES.

>> Darren: ALL RIGHT.

AND WHAT'S NEXT?

WHO DO YOU ASK, WHERE DO YOU GO

FROM HERE, JEB SPAULDING?

>> Spaulding: WELL, THAT'S GOING

TO TAKE SOME WEEKS TO DETERMINE,

DARREN.

WE NEED TO BE LISTENING AND

CONFERRING WITH LEGISLATIVE

LEADERS, SEEING WHAT THEY CAN DO

FOR US, WHAT THEIR SUGGESTIONS

ARE, AND THEN WE'LL DEVISE A

PROCESS THAT LEADS TO A REDESIGN

OF THE STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM,

PERHAPS A REDESIGN OF PUBLIC

HIGHER EDUCATION ACROSS THE

STATE.

>> Darren: NOW, THE GOVERNOR HAD

MENTIONED THAT WE SHOULDN'T BE

THROWING MONEY AT THE SCHOOL

SYSTEM IF, SAY, DOWN THE ROAD

WE'RE GOING TO BE BACK IN THIS

SCENARIO AGAIN.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO HIM?

>> Spaulding: IT WOULDN'T BE

THROWING MONEY AWAY.

IT WOULD BE PRESERVING ACCESS IN

PARTS OF THE STATE WHERE, IF WE

DIDN'T HAVE THAT ACCESS, THEY

WOULD BE ECONOMICALLY,

CULTURALLY AND SOCIALLY REALLY

DAMAGED.

>> Darren: JEB SPAULDING, THANK

YOU.

>> Spaulding: THANK YOU.

>> Darren: AND STAY WITH WCAX AS

WE CONTINUE TO COVER THIS STORY.

THAT WILL DO IT FOR CHANNEL 3'S

"YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND

STAY TUNED FOR THE CHANNEL 3

NEWS THIS MORNING.

IT'S COMING UP NEXT.

TAKE CARE.

HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY, EVERYBODY.

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